There is a middle world between life and death, and Tess must navigate it to save her brother in this heart-wrenching story infused with the fractured and fantastical realms of Finnish mysticism.
Axel and Tess are bewildered when a stranger shows up in their backyard accompanied by a giant brown bear, but before they can investigate the bizarre encounter, something more harrowing happens: their father is killed in a freak car accident.
Now orphaned, Tess and Axel are shipped off to Finland to live with grandparents who they’ve never met, and are stunned to discover that the mysterious stranger with the bear has found them again. More stunning—they come to understand that this man isn’t really a man…he’s a keeper of souls. And the bear isn’t really a bear…it’s a ghost. Their mother’s ghost. Wandering, endlessly, searching for their father.
Then the Keeper invites Axel, who is already fighting symptoms of muscular dystrophy, to join the path of the dead—and when Axel disappears into the deep snow, Tess knows she must find a way to follow. There are mysteries connected to this peculiar man, this keeper, and if she can untangle them, she might not only save her little brother, but also bring her parents peace.
Alexander Yates was born in Haiti and grew up in Mexico, Bolivia, and the Philippines. He is the author of the critically-acclaimed adult novel Moondogs, and YA novels The Winter Place and How We Became Wicked. Also a photographer, he lives in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with his wife.
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (October 27, 2015)